On his 54th birthday, let's raise a glass to Bez
It’s Happy Mondays maraca player and dancer Bez’s birthday! You can be sure he’s throwing some shapes to celebrate, and, before you do the same – or during, if you’re good at multi-tasking – here are our favourite facts about Bez.
1. He lives “on the land”
Bez claims he doesn’t worry about money – though he goes through difficult patches where he’s not earning – because, as he told The Telegraph, I have no possessions, so when I do get into difficulties, money is not such a great issue, because I live on the land.” But where does he keep his maracas?
2. He’s interested in politics
And stood for the Salford and Eccles area with his own political party named ‘The Reality Party’. Bez for PM, Andrew WK for President.
3. He only takes “organic drugs”
Last year, Bez told The Guardian: “I’ve not actually stopped taking drugs, but only if they’re organic will they get into my system now.” He’s big on the pills and thrills, but now with less of the bellyaches.
4. He has a book which is unsurprisingly called ‘Freaky Dancin’’
Well, he did inspire even the most rhythmically challenged of us to get on the dancefloor, so why not name a book he wrote after what he is most famous for?
5. He is actually credited on Happy Mondays recordings
Although he doesn’t sing and isn’t an original official band member but in the world of the Happy Mondays’ recording contract, that really does not matter. The world is Bez’s; we just live in it.
6. He won Celebrity Big Brother
It’s no wonder he won Big Brother. A self-proclaimed people-person – “I’m a man of the people, a man for all people” – he once said, he obviously must have impressed and appealed to the general public.
7. He was portrayed by Chris Coghill in the 2002 film 24 Hour Party People
Bez isn’t a primary character in the movie, but he still pops up occasionally. Also, Chris Coghill is actually originally from Prestwich. Manchester represent!
8. He once put some of his maracas on eBay to raise money for bee hives for schools
Bez loves bees, and lived part-time at a commune in south Wales, where he helped to keep bees. He told the Manchester Evening News: “It’s about living the social life but keeping the party going and have a bit of fun.”
9. In 2009, he appeared on Most Haunted alongside Shaun Ryder
And offered a ghost a swig of brandy. This is top quality television. Most Haunted at its finest. Television at its finest. Culture at its finest. Watch it immediately.
10. He’s become “a bit of a hippy”
We all knew Bez was a chill guy, but in addition to living on the land, he says he’s become a “bit of a hippy in my old age”. His pensions plan is to live without money, he told The Telegraph: “I intend to be able to live life without money, and that’s the way I’m gearing my life up now, creating all my own energy, creating all my own food, growing my own food… creating my own medicines.”
11. He claimed he quit dancing
He told NME that he hung up his dancing shoes in 2012, and would act only as a compere during the Monday’s reunion tour, because “I’m an old man now – sometimes you’ve got to hang your boots up gracefully.” Yet he’s since been busting many moves onstage, which is why the man remains a legend. Happy birthday, Bez!
Words: Sophie Marsh